One of the “Expectations of Church Membership” is point #5 paraphrased as “Have a ministry in the church and a mission in the world.” (From the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, p. 555). A very large proportion of people at St. James have had in the past or currently have an active volunteer ministry that
- contributes to the beauty and inclusiveness of our worship services, or
- helps maintain a vibrant Parish Life, or
- witnesses to our commitment to Jesus’ call to bring peace and justice to a broken world.
All are welcome to bring their gifts, talents, and time to any of the following opportunities. Under “Supporting the Worship Service” below, items are presented in the order in which each group contributes to the service and to prayer ministry.
Supporting the Worship Service
Altar Guild members maintain the altar linens and hangings for the altar and the pulpit and set up the altar for services (Sunday worship, Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals). They order and set up the flowers, record who has made a donation to purchase the flowers to dedicate in a loved one’s honour, and ensure the flowers are taken to the sick after the service. They take care of the Eucharist vessels, order and supply each service with bread and wine, and order and set up all candles. Guild members order palms for Palm Sunday, invite fellow parishioners to help make small palm crosses for distribution, then burn the remaining palms so the ash can be used for Ash Wednesday services. The Guild also decorates the Church for various holy days, like Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.
These are parishioners with lovely smiles who greet each person entering at either the Askin Street or Bruce Street doors to the church. They hand out bulletins for the service and pass the donations plate during the Offering. After the service, they check the pews, remove anything left behind, ensure all books are in place and kneelers are put back up in readiness for the next service. They take any personal items left behind to the office for the Lost and Found box. They also put copies of the current bulletin in the racks at the entrances. Two Greeter conveners, one for the 8:30, one for the 10:30 service, recruit, train, and establish and maintain a rotating schedule for the greeters.
Our St. James choir, led by Director of Music, Steve Holowitz, is made up of older youth and adults. The choir practises every Thursday evening and before the Sunday 10:30 services. They continually increase their repertoire by learning new music for many different occasions, and they also lead the congregation in their favourite familiar hymns. Their music is always well-matched to the readings and the sermon for each service and is an important part of the worship experience. The choir also does Outreach work. They sing twice a year at Grand Wood Retirement Home and provide music for the Remembrance Day Services at Parkwood Hospital. Not only are they great singers, they’re also great cooks, providing food and serving at receptions following special concerts at the church.
Altar Servers’ Guild
A convener supports our youth and adult servers who are trained to assist the rector with the worship services. They light the candles, lead the processions at the beginning of each service, assist with the ceremony of the Eucharist, and signal when it is time for each row of pews to go up for Communion.
Lay Reader and Lay Assistant
These two roles are responsible for reading the Collect and, at the 8:30 service, the Gospel, and assist the priest with Communion.
Two parishioners serve as reader conveners, recruiting readers, conducting training, and establishing and maintaining a reading schedule. Members read on a rotating basis at either the 8:30 or the 10:30 services. At each service, one member reads from the Old Testament or from Acts, Letters, or Revelation in the New Testament. At the 10:30 service, a second member reads the Gospel, the words of Jesus, for the day. All readings are set out in an Anglican Church “Lectionary” that specifies the readings for each day of the year and ensures that, in the course of three years, the services cover the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
This is a group of parishioners who, on a rotating basis, lead us in the “Prayers of the People” at the 10:30 service each Sunday. A rotating schedule is established and maintained by a convener.
Lay Administrators’ Group
These are lay people (non-clerical parishioners) who assist the Clergy and Lay Assistants to serve the wine during Communion. A rotating schedule is established and maintained by a convener.
The members of this ministry are available in the East Transept near the Murray Altar after the 10:30 Communion to serve as Prayer Partners for those who want to make a special devotion or ask for God’s help in any trouble they are facing. They too serve according to an organized schedule.
These are parishioners who assist the Clergy in making Pastoral Visits to those parishioners too ill or frail to get out to services. They bring good cheer, prayer, comfort, and, on occasion, little gifts to those in need of a visit. The Rector meets with this group on a regular basis to discuss people’s needs or to alter the list of people requiring/ requesting a visit.
Grand Wood Park Service
Every first Sunday of the month, our Lay Reader organizes a church service for residents at Grand Wood Park retirement home. Parishioners take turns leading the prayers and hymns, playing the piano, and delivering a homily.
Bible Study Groups
Various parishioners establish groups and open their homes on a regular basis for group study and discussion of Bible passages.
This is a group that counts and re-counts and records the weekly offerings and ensures all funds are deposited safely at the bank.